I went back to New Hampshire one more time to take on the country’s toughest mountain runners in the national championships at Mt. Cranmore in North Conway, NH. Unlike the Mt. Washington road race which was entirely uphill, this race featured extreme uphill and downhill sections. We ran 3K from the base lodge of the Mt. Cranmore resort to the top of the mountain on an easy (green) ski trail, and then 1.6K back down the mountain on a super steep black diamond ski trail – 3 TIMES!
Learning from my experiences on Mt. Washington, I developed a new strategy – start slowly and find someone to pace with. I picked Dave Dunham as my target pacer. Dave has a knack for starting very slowly and smoothly and then working his way through the pack for the rest of the race. I know I could count on Dave to get me into top position later in the race based on his impressive resume: He is a seven-time member of the US mountain team. He won a silver medal at the world mtn. running championships. He’s the former American record holder at 50K. He qualified for the Olympic trials (marathon) in 1992 and 2000, and has PR’s of 14:08 for 5K and 29:17 for 10K.
The gun went off and I stuck to my plan – I stayed right behind Dave until the top of the first 3K uphill. When I reached the top, I was in 20th place and felt fantastic. Everyone was being extremely cautious on the very steep and dangerous downhill section – including Dave – So I let it rip. Over the 1.6K downhill, I passed 10 people and moved solidly into 10th place at the end of the first lap.
For the rest of the story, you’ll have to watch the video.
Click HERE to read Dave Dunham’s post race report (scroll halfway down the page)